Alt Design Summit 2013: the whole big scoop

Alt! It’s been two weeks since we partied and I’m already missing you.

But here’s to the good times cause you guys totally outdid yourself this year!   This was my second year attending and it was even bigger and blinger (blingier? blinged out? And BINGed out) than last year.

I had a blast.

I wasn’t excited about the snow (it was 75 when I left Austin and 14 in Salt Lake City).  But snow shmow.  It was totally worth it.  ALT is truly a fabulous conference.

You get to mingle with all these blogging friends you’ve only known virtually (check out the attendee map below), learn new tips for improving your business, eat yummy treats, craft, dance, party, and just have ball (without kids for a weekend.  I have to remind myself sometimes, “I used to be really fun”)

Woohoo. It’s Susan from Freshly Picked, Melanie from Caravan Shoppe, and Caroline from Armelle.  Set up the shot….and hand over the camera.

For 3 days we networked, chatted, made new friends, hung out with Jessica Alba (what?),

And handed out really fun business cards (them, not me).  Seriously, each card was like a little gift…some of them 3-dimensional.  I totally need to step it up next year.

(Jessica Alba photo by Justin Hackworth)

And with a Ballroom full of bloggers there were more than enough picture opps and photo booths.  Like the Smile booth with these two goofballs.  It took me a while to realize that was @aubreymccoy (instagram), married to @bluebird from the site Bleu Bird.  Do you follow their blog?  It’s so fabulous.

TOP: Me and Miranda from One Little Minute • pretending I’m doing this Utah thing • Jessica from Me Sew Crazy
MIDDLE: New friend Bonnie from A Golden AfternoonBrooke White • Nikki from the Salty Pineapple (and me looking dorky)
BOTTOM: the Small Fry Blog gals • Nikki’s amazing pom poms • and Gabby of Design Mom

But aside from all the partying and playing we did actually do some work.  There are fabulous workshops and breakout sessions on a variety of topics.  You can learn how to collaborate effectively with other bloggers, how to find advertisers and monetize your blog, balance your life, create your brand, etc.
The speakers are wonderful. And there’s so much to choose from.  I couldn’t get it all in.

Aside from the workshops there were fabulous lunches and keynote speakers.

Like Chris Anderson, author and editor-in-chief of WIRED magazine….talking to us here about being Makers and thinking in a 3-D world.  He showed this example of a doll-house chair his daughter envisioned, created in 3-D software, then molded into a real toy with a 3-D printer. Amazing.

The next day we heard a unique presentation by Stefan Sagmeister, a talented graphic designer and artist.  I loved his thoughts on happiness, loving what you do, and looking for the positive (rather than negative) in our daily routines.  I’m gonna start asking myself:

And it wouldn’t be an Alt conference without crazy cool desserts…like chocolate dipped fortune cookies, the size of Clara’s head. Yes.

Some personal highlights were….being interviewed by the Studio 5 show on KSL in Salt Lake (and dressing like twiners with Brooke).  If you missed it last week, check out the short video HERE.

I got to speak/teach about going from a blog writer to book writer.

And we got hear from the final keynote speaker Katie Sokoler from Color Me Katie.  I love that she loves color!  My kind of gal. (Balloon photos by Justin Hackworth)

She was also super tiny, adorable, and apparently we both love polka dots and skinny belts (more twiners).

At the end of her presentation Katie asked us to look under out chairs where a balloon was hiding, blow it up, and then we had an all out balloon fight.  It was the best workout I got the whole conference!  And somehow Miranda, Nikki, and I ended up right smack in the middle where the balloons kept gathering.  Can you find us?

Phew.  This is a long post.
Still with me?
Just a bit more to share…..

If you needed a break there were rooms for chatting and relaxing and taking more pics….in a giant swan?

…or in the Bing it to Life lounge (sponsored by BING) with all sorts of fun decor. Prior to the conference they asked us share ideas we’d like them to “Bing to life” and they filled the room with cool crafts, quotes, etc… cupcake Liner lights:


Each night were fabulous parties.  We had Clue night where everyone came dressed as a game character.  Love that Miss Scarlett heart dress.

Made another new friend, Diana from Livy Love, here with Nikki.

And I found some other Mr. Greens.  I loved chatting with Jenean Morrison (fabric designer and artist).  Remember her cool Coloring book I shared?

The final night were the mini-parties, each room decked out in a different theme.  My favorites were the mac n cheese bar (blue cheese and bacon? You got it), the Method dance party sponsored by Method and Girls with Glasses, the room for making homemade valentines and sharing them with your blog crush,

I loved seeing a few guys there (all talking with their hands),

And I especially loved the WeatherMob app room where you could draw/color your own weather forecast, eat yummy treats, and take pics in WONDERFUL lighting. Haah!  The little things I care about.

(hanging with Nikki, Ana of We Love Citrus, and Bonnie)

And who can forget the cutest take home gifts from WeatherMob?  Rain, Snow, or Shine crazy straws!  And cute little buttons.  I may have grabbed a couple….for a potentially fun sewing project…

And that.
Is an Alt wrap.

Thank you Alt organizers and sponsors for making it happen!  It was a crazy fun weekend!
(If you’re looking for an Alt near you, they just announced San Francisco and NYC)

See ya next year….

  1. That looks like it was so much fun!!
    My husband keeps talking about 3D printers and how they are the next big thing. Very cool!
    Where did you get the green dress? It’s adorable!

  2. It WAS a whirlwind! Good on you for actually taking photos yourself:) I loved getting to hang out and can’t wait to party again soon (maybe at Sewing Summit?!) xoxo

  3. So many fun photos. Great re-cap. I’m tired all over again just reading it.

  4. What a good recap! I am so going next year! 🙂

  5. That’s it. Next year, I am in and it is ON.

  6. 8) Nina

    I love your polka dot dress. The summit sounds very interesting. Looks like you had a great time. Kudos to you.

  7. Looks SO fun. I hope to make it to ALT someday – just seems like an amazing experience.

  8. It’s impressive how much creativity people can have. I would love to visit something like ALT,tooo. Must be so inspiring.

  9. Such a fun recap! Loved it. I wish I could have attended your session!

  10. I couldn’t help but notice that there were no Montana bloggers on that map!! I’d love to fix that and be there next year. 🙂 Such great photos!

  11. Oh my it looks like you had a blast! Those conferences always look top notch. Wish I could have gone!

  12. That looks like the funnest time. ONE DAY I may go there, but I would be wayyyy too shy to talk to anyone. I’d just sit and stare ahah. Such a fun recap Dana!

  13. Gah, what a great recap. You really managed to capture the spirit of ALT! Has it really been only 2 weeks ago that we were there? I loved meeting you!

  14. 17) Rachel G

    Hey Dana! I was just wondering where you got the adorable navy BLUE polka dot dress/shirt?! I LOVE it!!

  15. Looks like you had sooo much fun. Makes me want to start a blog just to go! Haha
    Your hair always looks so awesome! Its great that you actually do it!

  16. Looks like you had a blast. Wish we had an ALT UK. I know what you mean about remembering you were a really fun person once!

  17. So many great photos! And everyone’s clothes – LOVE it! I’m hoping to catch some of this fun at Alt SF and/or Alt SLC in 2014. It looks like way too much to miss 🙂

  18. 21) Amanda

    This has nothing to do with ALT but will you please divulge how to do your fabulous braided hair band (BIG ONE) hairdo? The one when you were wearing the red shirt?

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